MOUNT VERNON — A stellar performance on the mound by Kylee Marcum still wasn’t enough to keep the Mount Vernon High School softball team from needing an extra inning to secure a win on Wednesday.
Marcum struck out the first 10 batters of the game, but after the Delaware Hayes Pacers broke up a scoreless game with a single run in the top of the eighth, the Yellow Jackets needed a rally. Mount Vernon rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 2-1 victory over the Pacers in Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division action.
“We’re happy that we won, but we are not always happy with the way we played,” said Mount Vernon assistant coach Lynn Apple. “We left too many people on base; we had a few opportunities early to get runs and we didn’t take advantage of them, that let them back in the ballgame. Obviously, we are very thrilled to get the win, but we still have a little ways to go. It is early in the season, so we still have time to work things out.”
It was Marcum who came up with the big hit in the bottom of the eighth. Natalie Scott singled and Karina Shackle walked to open the inning. Victoria Queen then took four straight pitches to load the bases, and Marcum stepped in. She hit the first pitch she saw to deep left-center field, scoring Scott and Shackle with the winning runs.
“When they scored, I knew we had to score, so I figured we might as well make it interesting,” said Marcum. “I was looking to get the ball out of the infield. There were no outs, so I wanted to hit a long shot or a hard groundball to score at least one run.”
Prior to that, Marcum dominated the Pacers. Not only did she strike out the first 10 batters, but she also had a perfect game going through six innings. A leadoff single by Kalene Schmidt broke up the bid, but Marcum responded by striking out the next three batters. The last, Kayleigh Huck, gave Marcum a workout by battling off 10 pitches.
“She had a great game,” said Apple of Marcum. “After Monday’s game where she threw 150 pitches, she did great. In that game, she started out well and then kind of lost it; she walked eight kids, so she ended up throwing a whole bunch of pitches. For her to come out and throw this kind of game today, I was really worried the team was going to let her down.
“I thought she did real well, especially the way a couple of batters really fought her off. A lot of credit to Kylee for hanging in there and getting the outs.”
Delaware finally scored in the eighth inning. After the Jackets registered two outs, Carly Shaw walked after battling off eight pitches. Emi Lewis then smacked a shot down the left-field line that a diving Raven Farley couldn’t come up with. The ball rolled to the fence, scoring Shaw and leaving Lewis with a triple. Marcum struck out Amber Arthur to end the inning, and set up the finish.
Mount Vernon’s offense struggled to find its groove. The Jackets had just four hits in the game, but stranded eight base runners, including Queen and Marcum at the game’s end. Delaware’s Tia Hinten walked seven Jacket batters and struck out seven.
Now with two OCC wins under their belt, the Yellow Jackets are in control of their destiny. There are many games to be played, and right now, none are bigger than Friday’s home game against Franklin Heights. The Falcons split with Mount Vernon last season, costing it a shot at the league title.
“(The league title) is certainly something we are talking about. We think we should be one of the league leaders,” said Apple. “This is a big win for us. We needed it to stay in front and keep our positive attitude going into our other league games. There is definitely going to be an attitude Friday against Franklin Heights. After last year, we now know every game is important.”
“After winning this game, we have a lot of motivation heading into Friday,” said Marcum.
First, however, the Jackets will host Cardington in a nonconference game today at 5:15 p.m.